Despicable Me 3

Corporate cost cutting is a fact of life in the 21st century, and Hollywood is not at all immune to the fiduciary pressures of the business industry. Sometimes, budget constraints can lead to more creative outcomes such as when George Lucas ran out of money to complete Star Wars (1977) and was forced to create all of the classic spaceship dogfights using only popsicle sticks and remaindered house paint. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Despicable Me 3.

In an effort to streamline the increasingly bloated Minions multiverse, Universal Pictures chose to outsource all the voice roles in the movie to Bruce Willis. Never the most versatile or energetic of actors to begin with, Willis is stretched to his limit attempting to create unique characterizations for a variety of different genders and species.


Felonious Gru (Bruce Willis) and his long lost brother Dru (Bruce Willis) in Despicable Me 3.

One can almost understand the logic of the casting. Once you cast Bruce Willis to provide the voice of the lead character Felonious Gru and his long lost brother Dru (a key supporting character in this sequel), why not just go ahead and have Bruce Willis perform all the other parts as well? This strategy may have worked with a once-in-a-generation character-based comedian like an Eddie Murphy or a Mike Myers, but I’m afraid Bruce Willis just wasn’t up to the task.

To add insult to injury, many of the movie’s scenes are just still backgrounds with barely animated figures exhibiting only the slightest movements. The animators did take care to make sure the lips of each character matched up with Bruce Willis’ voice, but this is a pretty low bar to set for big screen entertainment.

The movie’s most memorable moment actually occurs during the extended post-credits behind the scenes documentary. Bruce Willis, looking sweaty and exhausted after a day in the recording booth, collapses on a couch. While being attended by a coterie of assistant bearing wet hand towels and bottles of Vitamin Water, he suddenly screams: “I never want to do this again!” As the assistants murmur soothing words of sympathy, Despicable Me 3 reaches the closest it ever gets to any kind of genuine humanity.

TL;DRDespicable Me 3 is a lazy sequel featuring a bevy of embarrassing performances from one of America’s laziest stars.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“In the autumn of his career, Bruce Willis has begun to reach for the loftier summits of vocal performance in children’s entertainment.” – Trim Richulds, Entertainment Weekly

Despicable Me 3 is a static, deadening calamity that made me want to saw off both my arms and legs.” – Crack Altman, Vox

“The high pitched tones of the female characters were clearly outside of Bruce Willis’ limited vocal range.” – Nur Faizah, PopMatters

“Bruce Willis is back, baby! And he’s voicing multiple characters.” – Eric D. Snider,

“The Minions are much less fun to watch now that they all speak in a gruff grumble that is as lethargic as it is incomprehensible.” – F. Debnie Amberson, NPR

Melonmeter® Score:


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